Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Use, Abuse, Addiction & Facts

oxycodone addicted man and wife

Do Not Wait for Your Loved One to Hit Bottom

What Is Oxycodone? How is it Ingested or Used?

More frequently referred to as one of its brand names “OxyContin,” this drug is a potent synthetic opiate that is prescribed for individuals experiencing moderate to severe pain. For may people, oxycodone helps them get through painful periods with a better quality of life. Many people who take the drug are struggling with chronic pain experienced by accident victims, burn victims, and those afflicted with cancer.

If you or somebody you love has a problem with oxycodone, you’re not alone. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 60 million prescriptions for oxycodone-containing drugs were written in 2013. A study in 2012 by the DEA found over 16 million people reported abusing oxycodone at one time or another.

The drug is very addictive, and those who take it for pain are at high risk to develop a physical and psychological dependency.

Some users of oxycodone will resort to crushing the tablets and snorting them, or dissolving them in a liquid so they can be injected. The drug is less frequently smoked.

Common Street Names for Oxycodone:1

  • Cotton (as in “OxyContin”)
  • Killers
  • Rushbo
  • Kickers
  • OxyCottonOx
  • OCs
  • Orange County
  • Os
  • Oxys (or “Oxies”)

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Use and Abuse

When someone uses oxycodone, they will experience euphoria alongside its painkilling effects. The signs and symptoms of an oxycodone high are related to the drug’s activity at opioid receptors throughout the body, stimulating the body’s reward response/pleasure center.

A person who is on an opioid like oxycodone may fall asleep or “nod off,” even at times they are supposed to be alert and in charge of doing something.  Occasionally people have been known to “nod off” in the middle of a conversation. Their pupils will look like pinpricks and they may have shallow breathing. They will be in a state of euphoria but may act confused or incoherent when you are talking to them. A person who uses opioids may get nauseous or throw up as the high “kicks in”.

They may keep a lot of pills around their living quarters. You may notice that they are rationing their pills, or cutting the pills in half.

Some oxycodone doses are time-released so the drug’s impact lasts throughout the day. The specific dose and the method used to consume the substance will have an effect on how the user responds to it. Some users develop a tolerance to their prescription quickly, needing more of the drug for pain relief – or to simply get high.

What Are the Long-Term Effects and Dangers of Oxycodone Use?

With tolerance in place, an oxycodone user will seek out more of the substance to achieve the desired effects of the drug. It is easy for a user to become addicted to the drug and, because of their addiction; it is more likely that they will overdose because they are ingesting increasing doses of the drug.. Overdoses can cause respiratory failure, liver damage, comas, and even death.2

On top of this, a user taking oxycodone in large amounts runs the risk of causing a heart attack or stroke. Some users go into a coma that they can’t come out of. Others experience brain damage that is irreversible. After long-term use of oxycodone, men may have problems with their testosterone levels or enlargement of the prostate. Other long-term effects include excessive sweating, edema (swelling) in the arms and legs, and chronic constipation.

Opioid abusers tend to be malnourished and are more susceptible to skin troubles and infections.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Dependency/Addiction?

A person becomes dependent on oxycodone when their brain becomes so accustomed to the presence and effects of a drug that it cannot function normally without it. Once dependence is established, the user will need to maintain a supply the drug or face uncomfortable and painful withdrawal symptoms.

A person addicted to oxycodone will practice drug-seeking behavior in an effort to get and maintain a high. They may go doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions. They may fake illness or injuries at the ER to go home with a bottle of pills. They may hoard, ration, or crush their pills. They may seek out street drugs when they can’t get ahold of oxycodone. In fact, people addicted to prescription opiates like oxycodone are 40 times more likely to try heroin.

An oxycodone addict may end up with financial troubles, cut off ties to friends and family, and become more isolated as they concentrate more on their addiction. They may lose jobs or get into legal trouble due to their drug-seeking behavior.

Many users have difficulty ceasing their oxycodone use because of the intense side effects such as sweating, body aches, sickness (nausea, vomiting) fever and chills they may experience. It’s highly recommended that oxycodone users taper or detox from the drug in a supervised, therapeutic environment.

The Unfortunate Matriculation to Heroin Which is All Too Common Now  States

Increasingly, the discomfort of  withdrawals will cause the user to buy heroin. This shocking transition is all too common because of how difficult it can be to obtain more of the medication, or it is prohibitively expensive (often $50+ per pill)/

This phenomenon has become our country’s most urgent health crisis.  The instances of heroin addiction have exploded and all throughout every socio economic strata of society.  High school aged boys and girls are overdosing in perviously unheard of numbers, and drug overdose has eclipsed automobile accident as the #1 cause of preventable death in teens.

For obvious reasons: opiate abuse should be taken very seriously, not even one more day of condoning the use should be allowed if  it is discovered that someone someone is abusing opiates.

Getting Help for an Oxycodone Problem

If you think you have a problem with oxycodone, opioids, or another drug, there are recovery options available to you. You can reclaim your life and learn to live without abusing this drug. Many addicts have been able to stop using oxycodone and live rewarding, successful lives with the help of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Learn more about your options. It’s 100% confidential and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call, today!

1.OxyContin Fast Facts, available here.
2.Oxycodone, available here.